History of Real Estate
For most of human history, people were nomads or semi-nomads, moving around from place to place, and occasionally living in temporary shelters or natural dwellings like caves. After agriculture fell into widespread adoption, humanity began constructing permanent dwellings to live in and from where to conduct commerce. Thus, the idea of real estate was born, the sale, ownership and purchase of property and the buildings and resources found thereon.
It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution in the Victorian Era of Britain that the concept of real estate as we know it today was created. In a rapid amount of time, vast swathes of the population were moving out of the countryside and into bustling cities like London, Manchester and Liverpool. Factory workers and miners needed homes, and with that came an industry dedicated to selling, renting and trading in commercial and home properties.
As for the term “real estate”, it comes from the original meaning of the word “estate”, which refers to all the property and wealth owned by a person. Although money, livestock and other goods are certainly “real” in the physical sense, the very fact that land is immutable is why it is referred to as “real” estate when legal descriptions of a person’s property are being made. Any property which can be moved (i.e. is “portable”) is the part of the estate not classified as “real” estate.
Whacky Facts About Real Estate
- The White House real estate was officially tallied to be worth $110 million dollars if it were to be sold on the open market.
- Houses in Alaska are simultaneously in the northernmost, westernmost and easternmost state in America.
- There are about 5 times more vacant houses than homeless people in the United States.
- In 2007, the infamous real estate mogul Leona Helmsley bequeathed $12 million in her will to her dog.
- Donald Trump, known for his savvy real estate investments, has filed for corporate bankruptcy four times.
- In 1945, an airplane crashed into the Empire State Building, severing the elevator cable. Amazingly, the woman in the elevator managed to survive her plummet to the bottom.
- In 2009, as a result of the recession, there were more foreclosures in America than total marriages.
- In a wildly successful experiment, Utah has been giving free homes to homeless people since 2005.
- In Scotland, some homeowners paint their front doors red when they’ve finished paying off their mortgages.
- Even though Warren Buffet is one of the richest men in the world, he still lives in his first house, which cost him just $31,500.
- Brass is used for doorknobs in many houses because the metal disinfects itself.
- In 2012, there were 422,000 registered real estate brokers in the United States.
- Monopoly, the famous board game about real estate, was originally designed to teach players about the risks of capitalism.
- The richest person in India built his own house at the cost of $1 billion.
- Believe it or not, in New York state, homeowners are required to disclose to potential sellers if their house is haunted by ghosts or undead spirits.
- Depending on where you live, people measure real estate by square feet, square meters, gaz, Quila, Marla, Beegha, hectare or the acre.
While many armchair analysts can claim to predict which kinds of neighborhoods are preferred by homeowners, recent surveys have shown that Americans prefer living in areas with a mix of homes and stores. In fact, the least popular type of neighborhood is the kind with only residential houses.
When the National Association of Realtors polled 1,500 property owning Americans in 2013, they discovered that most people preferred to live somewhere with a mix of houses and commercial establishments that are easy to walk to. Surprising some, Americans who responded said that they’re also willing to live in a smaller home in order to live in a place where they can walk to stores and shops. Over 78% of respondents clearly stated that the qualities of the neighborhood are more important than the size of their home. Over 55% of those surveyed reported that they’d give up a home with a big yard if they could live within walking distances to restaurants, shops and educational facilities.
Breakthroughs in Technology
With the internet rapidly approaching near-universal familiarity, it’s no surprise that powerful websites and apps are helping people to buy, sell and invest in real estate. But what you may not know is that one digital powerhouse in the American real estate market, online firm Zillow, just took a huge step forward.
Zillow has announced that its software now integrates with Google’s voice commands. Simply by talking to their phone or mobile device, prospective homeowners can ask the internet search giant to inform them which homes are for sale, when and where open houses are scheduled, and information on sale and rent prices. Google will then use Zillow to return the information to users in seconds, dramatically changing the real estate market.
Investing in Real Estate
While many people naturally think of real estate as being about securing that first family home, real estate can also be a great choice for investors. But beginner investors may find it bewildering to enter the market. Experts agree that the most important thing is to secure proper financing before attempting to flip or profit from real estate investments.
Also important is that homeowners and property buyers investigate local laws in effect, particularly regulations on mortgages and rent payments. Some jurisdictions may offer substantial reductions in mortgage payments to people who can prove that the home or space is occupied.